‘The Sacred Circus’: Ben-Hur on the Stage & the Rails

Dr. Howard Miller joined us from Austin, Texas, this week to deliver a presentation on the traveling Ben-Hur stage play developed by Klaw and Erlanger. He graciously allowed us to stream “The ‘Sacred Circus’: Ben-Hur on the Stage and on the Rails” on Facebook Live. We are reposting the video here on our blog.

Opening at New York City’s Broadway Theater on November 29, 1899, the staging of Ben-Hur was a milestone of American theater. After Lew Wallace saw the elaborate stage sets and the New York premiere, he exclaimed, “My God. Did I set all of this in motion?”

The show boasted a cast of hundreds as well as live camels and horses trained to run on treadmills as a cyclorama rotated in the background. The mega-hit ran for 6,000 performances over 21 years and was estimated to have been seen by more than 20 million people.

Unfortunately, the projector was a bit loud, so you might have to turn the volume up a bit. We’re still learning how best to record and present these lectures!

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